• 91°
franklin county times

Player's death shines spotlight on steroids

By Staff
Will Bardwell / staff writer
October 14, 2004
Maybe you're sick of reading about steroids. I wish the world would stop giving me reasons to write about them.
But anabolic steroids represent the single most dangerous issue facing sports today. Ken Caminiti's death at age 41 on Sunday proves it.
Caminiti, the 1996 National League MVP, was the first Major League Baseball player to come out and admit to using steroids. And now, eight years after that MVP season, Caminiti is dead of a heart attack.
Put two and two together.
Caminiti was also a cocaine addict with a history of alcoholism, and I'm sure that wasn't good for his heart. But neither were the steroids.
Hopefully, though, Caminiti's death will bring increased attention to the most dangerous consequence of steroid use death.
This problem is the gravest here at home. Don't kid yourselves, Mom and Dad. Steroids are just as readily available to high school athletes as they are to pros.
It's a sad commentary on the state of the world today, and to ignore that is more than naive it's dangerous.
It wasn't so long ago that I was in high school. Adults think life is pretty easy for a 16-year-old kid, but it's not. As a high school student, you feel an immense amount of pressure to succeed coming from all sorts of places parents, coaches, teachers, peers and yourself. And that pressure is felt more by high school athletes than anyone else.
I'm sure that no high school coach would ever intentionally do anything that might drive a player to experiment with steroids. But in addition to being under pressure to succeed, teenagers are naturally competitive.
If a 16-year-old kid can relieve that pressure and gain a competitive edge by taking a steroid, why wouldn't they?
It's not like steroids aren't readily available. Teenagers are resourceful. They can get their hands on anything from dirty magazines to heroin. If a kid wants steroids bad enough, he'll get them.
But at least a pro athlete like Caminiti or Jose Canseco can afford to get steroids from reputable sources. A kid who buys a few syringes from a guy at the gym or a friend of a friend has no idea what he's getting. He assumes it's a steroid, but who really knows for sure?
At least Gary Sheffield had steroids experts from BALCO looking out for him. Who's looking out for a sophomore in high school with a needle and a bottle that he bought for $100?
We're talking about changing the chemistry of the body. It's not like a steroid user is injecting a liquid version of Flintstones vitamins. This stuff is dangerous. Steroids put an incredible amount of stress on the heart.
For an example of what happens next, look no farther than Ken Caminiti.
It's ironic that through all his much-publicized struggles and revelations regarding steroids, Caminiti's greatest lesson to the sporting world came with his death.
Parents and teenagers would be wise to learn from that lesson. If not, high school athletes may follow in Caminiti's fatal footsteps.

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

Franklin County

NWSCC receives $18,000 in grants from Dollar General Literacy Foundation

News

Russellville equine therapy visits library program

News

Steam locomotive delivery to Red Bay delayed, arrives July 1

News

Local author holds book signing at RPL

Franklin County

Former Russellville resident performs ‘Miracle Worker’

News

Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

All American Tang Soo Do students recognized

News

Russellville High School students sign to pursue fine arts careers

Franklin County

Football Funday, special needs probowl take place June 15

Galleries

PHOTOS: RMS students take the stage for spring sing

News

Russellville member named among finalists for GFWC Jennie Award

East Franklin

East Franklin Junior High celebrates May 21 graduation

Belgreen

Belgreen Class of 2024 celebrates graduation

Franklin County

Local churches plan Vacation Bible School programs

Galleries

PHOTOS: Tharptown High School Wildcats graduate

Galleries

PHOTOS: Phil Campbell High School students graduate

Franklin County

NEMCC announces more than 400 to spring vice president’s list

Franklin County

UNA releases spring dean’s, president’s lists

News

Roxy holds June 15 concert, plans other events

Franklin County

Free summer meal program available at Franklin County Schools

News

PHOTOS: Red Bay High School graduates celebrate

x